Internet pathways for stakeholder engagement and accountability: universities in the United Kingdom and their donors
Cordery, Carolyn J.
Baskerville, Rachel F.
University of Western Australia (Ngan); Victoria University of Wellington (Baskerville now at University of Exeter)
Meetings and Proceedings
Universities world-wide experiencing reducing government financial support are seeking to satisfy financial shortfalls through alternative funding such as that from private contributors (especially alumni). When private corporations search for new funding streams, they turn to the internet, however the unregulated nature of internet reporting has brought calls for higher standards in internet reporting practices (e.g. IASC, 1999). Little is known about the use or quality of internet financial reporting by universities to attract private contributions or to account for the stewardship to current contributors. The present research examined universities' current reporting practices, in order to understand more fully how contextual factors in the tertiary sector impact the availability and quality of universities' internet reporting. The research shows that the ease of accessibility of financial information on universities' websites is related to generic characteristics, such as the age and the financial status of universities. As well, quality of this unregulated internet financial varies widely. The research expands on the relevant issues emerging from this unregulated environment and highlights gaps that exist between stakeholder's expectations and current internet practice. This study recommends improvements in the standard and quality of reporting in order for universities to discharge their accountability
Paper presented to the Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand Annual Conference, Sydney, Australia, July 2008